Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Wrestlers prepare


December 7, 2017

Rex Clothier

For the first time in many years the 2017-18 Bobcat wrestlers enter a season with a balanced collection of athletes from the four years of HSCHS. Seniors Cullen Becher, Koy Myers, Austin Weaver and Andrew Yarbrough will lead this edition of the Bobcats into a year filled with both promise and challenges.

Juniors Jeffrey VanAntwerp, Jonathan Harvey, Austin Ireland and Chase White bring to the team a solid year of seasoning and look to be a force to be reckoned with by the end of the season going into the regional and state tournaments.

Add to this recipe sophomores Aiden Ozman, Hunter Mounts, Spencer Axtell, Riley Shaffer, Joshua Lackey and Blake Williams; and, then add in newcomers Hyrum Rich, Joshua Roberson, Jaxson Jensen and Logan Cole and the result may be a dish that satisfies the most ardent of Bobcat wrestling fans.

With the first action of the season approaching Dec. 8 and 9 at the Powell Invitational, the conditioning and instruction has been intensive, but in spite of the press of time, the enthusiasm of this team is noticeable along with the Bobcats' determination to give a good account of themselves wherever the schedule takes them.

The challenge is that nearly half of all the wrestlers are within 10 pounds of each other. That in simple terms faces Coach C.J. Scholl with two problems. First, at least five weight classes will be filled by wrestlers performing at other than their own natural weight. Second, there will be multiple "wrestle offs" to determine the varsity wrestler at each weight. This "wear and tear" could have an impact on tournament outcomes later in the season.

Scheduling has continued to be a problem with only two home dates this season, the Bobcats will have to learn to wrestle well, away from fans. Plans for modification of three classes into two fell through, so the competition will remain 2A, 3A, and 4A with the Bobcats competing in the 3A class.

Coach Scholl expressed satisfaction with the direction of the wrestling program in general, and had nothing but praise for the coaches and sponsors of the junior programs, but admitted being puzzled that while the youth programs enjoyed a large number of participants, the number entering the HSCHS program never seems to reflect that number.

Scholl has stressed the goal of developing a strong team concept, and was clearly encouraged by the enthusiasm and team spirit of these Bobcats. This was clearly seen in the resultant increase in strength of his wrestlers because they worked out during the summer months. The coach noted that he expected them to win many close matches in the third period because of the work they have done.

Assisting Scholl this year is Trey Ottley, new to the Thermopolis area but with a strong Wyoming background. Married with two children, and a graduate of the University of Nebraska, Coach Ottley expressed his appreciation for the rural atmosphere of the area.

So, another season begins with hopes not only for this year, but also for future years as the youth program grows and sends more prospects to the high school program.

Coach Scholl pointed out that wrestling provides competition for athletes from other sports as well as a place for those whose stature is not suited for team sports, but whose hearts yearn for the competition they experience on the "mat."


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